Take a first look at Denver International Airport’s new train cars

As the airport grows, these new trains bring increased capacity to meet demand.
2 min. read
A man speaks at a podium on the left side of the frame; on the right, we can see into a new empty traincar lit with purple light.
Denver International Airport offficials celebrate a new train’s first day at work, taking passengers to their terminals. July 2, 2024.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Denver International Airport plans to hit 100 million passengers by 2027 and 120 million by 2045. As traffic grows quickly, the airport needs bigger trains to take passengers from the terminal to concourses — the first six of which rolled out Tuesday.

The new trains can each carry an additional 850 people per hour, replacing the decades-old, often-crowded existing train cars. The airport has 26 new cars in total that will begin to come online through next year.

Inside Denver International Airport's newest train. July 2, 2024.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

“With almost 78 million annual passengers and more expected each year, we need to have the most reliable and the most durable and the most efficient infrastructure and systems to ensure that passengers have a seamless journey,” said airport CEO Phil Washington.

Many of DIA’s current trains are 29 years old and have “exceeded their useful life” according to the airport. The upgrades will speed up time between arriving trains and improve energy efficiency by about 30 percent. The new train cars are also bringing about 20 new jobs to the airport.

Denver International Airport CEO Phil Washington stands inside DIA's newest train as passengers wait for an older one. July 2, 2024.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

The airport is also working on alternatives to the trains for the rare situations when service goes down.

Because of the way the airport is laid out, travelers can only walk to their gate if it's located in Concourse A. Otherwise, the train is required to get to Concourses B and C. Every so often, train service is disrupted, which causes crowds and prevents travelers from getting to their gates.

The airport solicited a call for ideas for backup routes to Concourses, which included things like tunnels, shuttles and bridges.

Passengers wait to board a train at Denver International Airport. July 2, 2024.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Washington said the airport has not yet made any firm decisions but plans to in the next few months.

“We still are very, very focused on redundancy for the train,” Washington said. “With the increased numbers that we are going to see, that we're already seeing, I still think we need redundancy. What that is, we’ll have to wait and see."

Train tracks dissappear into the depths below Denver International Airport. July 2, 2024.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Recent Stories